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LONG ISLAND-BOUND: Frans Nielsen

by Staff Writer / New York Islanders

FRANS NIELSEN

Center
Height:
6-0     
Weight: 176     
Shoots: Left
Born: April 24, 1984 - Herning, Denmark  
2006-07 Team: Bridgeport Sound Tigers (AHL)
Acquired: Islanders 2002 third-round draft pick (87th overall)

 

2006-07 Overview
The biggest surprise in the Islanders' system last season may have been the Danish-born and raised Frans Nielsen, who was drafted in the third round of the 2002 Entry Draft. To some observers, the 23-year-old came out of left field, having spent the previous five seasons skating in the Swedish Elite League.

Playing for the first time professionally in North America, Nielsen quickly became a leader on the Bridgeport Sound Tigers. He put up impressive numbers - 20-24-44 in 54 games - placing him third on the team in goals, tied for fifth in assists and fourth in points. Nielsen also totaled four power play goals and three shorthanded goals. He ranked second on the team with a plus/minus rating of +7.

His hard work and productivity earned him time with the Islanders, making Nielsen the first Danish-raised citizen to compete in the NHL. In 15 games with the Islanders, Nielsen tallied a goal and an assist. He also scored in his only shootout attempt on Feb. 13 in Toronto.

Nielsen is currently representing Denmark at the 2007 Ice Hockey World Championship taking place in Russia. In the preliminary round, Denmark picked up one win along with two losses to advance to the qualifying round. Nielsen has tallied two assists and is a +1 in three games.

 

What They're Saying...

Bridgeport head coach Jack Capuano: "Frans was a pleasant surprise for all of us. We knew he was a good defensive player, but he turned out to have some scoring touch, scoring 20 goals. I liked his work ethic, which is second to none. He's always trying to become a better hockey player, working on his game pre and post practice. Frans is a great penalty killer and has tremendous hockey sense. He sees the play ahead of other guys. Frans' transition to the North American game was fine. He played in every situation, including the point on the power play. He earned all the playing time he received."

Islanders head coach Ted Nolan: "We liked what we saw from Frans in the few games he was up. He has a little jam to his game. On his goal against Montreal, he showed some great patience with the puck. Due to some injuries, Frans got an early chance to experience the NHL, and it hopefully built his confidence."

 

Before He Was an Islander
Nielsen traveled from Denmark across to Sweden to play pro hockey, participating in the Swedish Elite League, starting with Malmo in 2001-02. The Islanders drafted Nielsen following his first season with Malmo.

In 2004-05 following Malmo's poor regular season showing, Nielsen led the team in points with nine during the team's fight to stay in the Elite League during the relegation round. With a record of 4-3-3 in the relegation round, Malmo successfully kept their spot in the Elite League and was not demoted to the next level league.

The following season with Timra, Nielsen set Elite League career-highs in assists (13) and points (18).

 

What's Next?
Following a successful first season in North America, playing in the AHL, Nielsen has his sights set on the NHL. He received a taste of it last season, but is hoping for a longer stay during the 2007-08 season.

"The biggest thing with Frans is going to be how rigorously he trains this summer," said Capuano. "His work ethic is outstanding, but he needs to be a little bit stronger."

 

Newyorkislanders.com PROJECTion
Frans Nielsen has the makings of a Ted Nolan-type player. He's hard-working, gritty and has a nose for the net. Nolan should give Nielsen a serious look next year considering how well he filled in this season when players went down with injuries.

Nielsen should ultimately turn into a solid two-way forward in the NHL considering his speed, stickhandling ability and hockey sense. Will he be a star? Probably not, but he could be a very valuable player on a contending team.

 

Stats


 

 

Regular Season

Playoffs

Season

Team

Lge

GP

G

A

Pts

PIM

GP

G

A

Pts

PIM

2001-02

Malmo IF

SEL

20

0

1

1

0

--

--

--

--

--

2002-03

Malmo IF

SEL

47

3

6

9

10

--

--

--

--

--

2003-04

Malmo IF

SEL

50

9

7

16

28

10

3

5

8

2

2004-05

Malmo IF

SEL

49

8

7

15

6

10

7

2

9

0

2005-06

Timra IK

SEL

50

5

13

18

22

--

--

--

--

--

2006-07

Bridgeport Sound Tigers

AHL

54

20

24

44

10

--

--

--

--

--

2006-07

New York Islanders

NHL

 

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